Girls need to be reminded of who they are, in and amongst the onslaught of what they experience in every day life.
They need to know that they are not defined by the images they see of women in magazines and that beauty is a quality that cannot be gained or bought...it is something that you already are.
Girls deserve to be celebrated so that they can unashamedly learn to celebrate themselves.
They need to know that loving yourself is fundamental to building a healthy relationship with another
Girls deserve a level of self-respect that far outweighs anyone else's needs or desires of them.
Knowing how precious and tender she is and therefore how powerful she is, needs to be her foundation in life
Girls today are growing up in a very different world. Their path to navigate is far more treacherous than when I was a teenager only 25 years ago. The media and technology have a big part to play in this, making everything so much more accessible and available. Life is 'on' 24/7. There is no escape and it's often very difficult to even leave a schoolyard challenge at school at the end of a day. Everything goes with you in your pocket and if you allow it, everyone knows your every move. They know what you like, what you don't like, where you are, what you're wearing, what you're eating and who you're with.
Not surprisingly, social media is linked with the increasing rates of depression and anxiety in young girls. The media portrays an endless image of the perfect woman, feeding the idea that our outer appearance is what defines 'being beautiful'. More than half of girls 6-8 years old indicate their ideal body is thinner than their current body. Is this any wonder when 87% of female characters age 10 -17 on the most popular kids TV shows are below average weight? Eating disorders and self-harm are more prevalent, in fact it is fast becoming common place.
The pressure today is beyond what we can only imagine and the evidence is very clear, that girls are struggling and need support.
The Girl to Woman Festival 2016 is themed 'Respect and Celebrate'. This festival is running for the second time, after a hugely successful and very well received event in January 2015. On January 9th 2016, an entire day is being dedicated to celebrate girls and women, with an incredible line up of presentations, workshops and activities as well as the very popular market stalls and delicious cafe. The first 150 tickets sold to girls will receive a FREE gift bag! Book here.
The Girl to Woman Festival is so very needed. Such a welcomed breath of fresh air and beautiful dose of realness, bringing the community together for the well-being and future of our girls.
Sara Harris is a complementary women's health specialist practising in Caulfield and Viewbank, Melbourne. She is the founder of a number of Programs for Girls and Women including the Girl to Woman Project. For more about Sara see About Sara Harris.